Living Life On The Cut Line
• 3-time All-American at Stanford
• 16 ATP doubles titles
• 2011 French Open mixed doubles champion
• 15-year professional tennis career
I had the pleasure of interviewing Scott about his 15 year professional tennis career. Here are some of the important insights about mindset and mental toughness that he picked up over that time.
Living life on the cut line:
Scott played professional tennis for a number of years at a very high level. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t always the most glamorous lifestyle, unless you are at the top of the mountain. When asked what he did, Scott would often tell people that he “lives his life on the cut line.” This means that he is on the edge of being in or out of a tournament, based on his ranking. Depending on who else signs in, he may or may not make it into the draw. To be able live life this way, he needed a mindset that allowed him to deal with adversity and last minute changes.
When Scott was first coming up in the circuit he would have a tough time dealing with his emotions after a loss. This manifested itself into the habit of breaking of rackets and yelling with his coach in the locker room after matches. Eventually, he was able to change these actions by changing his mindset and accepting that in tennis, only one person actually wins in an entire tournament, and that most likely he wouldn’t win every event that he plays in. That meant he had to
figure out constructive ways to handle a loss.
This was a big revelation for him because in tennis, no matter how well a player is playing, they are going to have to deal with losses throughout the year. What helped Scott was that he was developing the mindset to continue moving forward no matter the outcome of the match. He learned what he could from the past, but not get stuck there and focus on the loss. Keep moving forward because there’s always another tournament ahead.
When Scott looks back on his career, there are two things that he wishes he had spent a little bit more time adding to his game.
1) Developing more of a routine between points and sticking to it
It is great for calming and refocusing a tennis player between points, especially in critical situations. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it works for you. It may be adjusting your strings, taking some deep breaths, or going and toweling off. Whatever it is though, it needs to be practiced if it is going to be used successfully.
This is also great for people who may have certain stressors in their lives that they have to deal with. Find a routine that can help to calm emotions. If there are times in your life where you need more focus, start to develop a routine that will help bring that focus in.
2) Visualization skills
This is a great skill to have in your toolbox. This allows you to see yourself being successful and winning in big situations, before you encounter them. You can use it to see yourself handling stressful times, overcoming obstacles, and being successful in challenging circumstances as well! But again, this is a skill that needs to be practiced if it is to be utilized correctly. You want to start by working on it in controlled situations and then work it into more difficult scenarios.
Hopefully Scott’s story and tips will be beneficial for you no matter what your sport or endeavor in life. Remember to learn from your past and keep pushing forward!
Good luck! And enjoy the journey!
Follow me at:
Facebook: Performance Evolution
Linkedin: Performance Evolution